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Re: Allophone Problem

From:And Rosta <and.rosta@...>
Date:Thursday, June 7, 2007, 18:58
Joseph Fatula, On 06/06/2007 10:51:
> I'm having a problem analyzing the phonemes of a language. The sound > [e] only appears before voiceless consonants, while [i] can appear in > any other environment. This leads me to think that they're allophones > of each other, except for the following problem. Voiceless fricatives > become voiced between vowels, yet the [e] in such cases remains unchanged: > > - [nef] > [neva] > - [niv] > [niva] > > Among words with the "-a" suffix, this [e] vs. [i] distinction is the > only thing showing the difference between words like [neva] and [niva]. > Are these minimal pairs? Are [e] and [i] separate phonemes?
IMO, we're definitely dealing with one phoneme, if [neva] is never monomorphemic. /nif/ [nef] /niv/ [niv] /nif + a/ [neva] /niv + a/ [niva] (The "IMO" is important, bcs I insist on morpheme boundaries' visibility to phonology.) With nods to Roger's excellent msgs in this thread. --And.